Child Support Collections from Federal Income Tax Refund Offsets Hit Record High in 2008

Thursday, February 19, 2009
Contact: ACF Press Office
(202) 401-9215

A record $2.85 billion in delinquent child support was collected from federal income tax refund offsets in 2008 under the Federal Offset Program, HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced today.

The new record broke the previous one, set in 2007, by more than $1.15 billion.

Offset collections were assisted in 2008 by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 and the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.  Legislative changes in the DRA, which expanded the use of Federal Tax Refund Offset to more child support cases, allowed state child support enforcement agencies to certify to the Federal Government that nearly one million debts previously not eligible for federal income tax refund offset qualify for the offset.  As a result, these additional 170,000 offsets collected more than $200 million.  Another 1.4 million offsets attributable to the economic stimulus payments accounted for nearly $870 million.

“With the support of our partners, state child support agencies and some well-timed legislation, the Federal Offset Program was able to reach unprecedented levels of success in 2008,” said Donna Bonar, acting commissioner of ACF’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. 

State child support enforcement agencies report to the Office of Child Support Enforcement non-custodial parents who owe past due child support. These individuals are sent advance notification in writing that they have been certified to the program, their tax refund payments are subject to tax refund offset collections, and how to contest the action if a mistake has occurred.  An amount up to the total past-due can then be deducted from their refund payments. 

For more information on the Federal Offset Program visit:

For more information on Child Support Enforcement visit:


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